7 Steps to Great Writing

July 26th, 2007   •   7 comments   

Copyblogger, one of the world’s most popular for writing aficionados like yours truly, featured this excellent post on writing effective copy by Brian Clark. I have read plenty of copywriting tips in my lifetime, but this is probably one of the best I have come across. Read it, apply it to your writing, and voila! Watch those customers come queueing at your doors…. (if only it was this simple)

  1. Beneficial Topic

    Is what you’re writing of interest to the reader? Does it solve a problem they have and add value to their lives? If not, nothing else you read here matters.

  2. Magnetic Headline

    Likewise, nothing else matters if your prospective reader never makes it past the title or headline. Your content could be amazing, but if no one is compelled to invest the time to read based on a boring or vague headline, all is lost.

  3. Strong Opening

    The purpose of the headline is to get the first sentence read, and each subsequent sentence needs to keep the reader rolling towards to the close. The momentum you create with your opening can make your job easier the rest of the way.

  4. Helpful Structure

    Are your transferable lessons easily digested via bullet points and numbered lists? Are you providing compelling subheads that act as encouraging signposts for the diagonal reader to dig in deeper?

  5. Smooth Transitions

    Good writing uses transitional words and phrases to help the content read more smoothly. But good copy also uses psychological connectors to persuade and keep the reader engaged. We’ll talk more about that soon.

  6. Instant Understanding

    Orson Scott Card once said that metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space. The same is true of stories, and being highly specific facilitates understanding, holds attention, and enhances credibility in ways that general assertions cannot.

  7. Actionable Close

    How you close a piece is determined by what you are hoping to accomplish. If you’re not sure what you’re trying to accomplish, you might ask yourself why you’re writing it at all. That actually helps you to determine whether to revamp the content or to put it out of its misery.

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  1. ET
    posted on Jul 26, 2007 at 2:50 AM

    Briefly went through interest to reader and close a piece, very cool tips. Thanks for sharing.

  2. posted on Jul 26, 2007 at 3:09 AM

    Great article, and I agree wholeheartedly.

    Also concur with Clappingtrees… I think many bloggers try too hard and come up with overly sensational headlines in a quest to get page views, hits, pongs, etc.

  3. posted on Jul 26, 2007 at 2:51 AM

    Thanks for the tips, Walter. I wish many more bloggers would follow them and that fewer bloggers would go for the expedient – writing about sex or “screaming” sex (or sexy) even when their post has nothing to do with sex.

  4. posted on Jul 26, 2007 at 11:59 AM


    No probs. Will look for more of such practical tips.

  5. posted on Jul 26, 2007 at 12:02 PM

    clappingtrees and daniel,

    Thanks for the encouragement. I know what you guys mean by the sensationalism that goes on to get eyeballs. Well, there is a lot of competition for attention in the social media spaces, and this leads people to employ all ways and means to draw people to their web. Unfortunately, when they get there, the content is often way more inferior than the promise!

  6. tanguy
    posted on Jul 27, 2007 at 3:14 PM

    Hi Walter,

    thanks for this very clear article. It enlightened me on several features I should definitely work on.

    I would maybe add 2 other points :
    – Use a correct language – avoid grammatical / orthographic mistakes (English being not my mother tongue, this is pretty hard for me to keep a pleasant standard).

    – Base your writing (when applies) on verifiable facts from trustworthy sources (not so easy, there is a lot going on the web
    e.g. : http://gatt.org/ or http://www.wto.org/ – which one is the real one ?). Furthermore, it is sometimes very difficult to identify information from promotion, when not flagged as so.

    Still not a miraculous recipe of course… 🙂

  7. posted on Jul 30, 2007 at 4:51 AM

    hmmm..nice one brudder Walter…as a CMI writer..think I can use some of ’em tips to write my submissions eh: 😉

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